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"Lots of money" is a relative concept.

Is fourteen or fifteen billion dollars excessive relative to a share of power over a national economy of $21 trillion or so? Maybe if we could factor in all the money collected by lobbyists and by lawyers and accountants who guide clients through federal issues, we'd get an idea of a much larger value the "invisible hand" sets on control of government. Whatever that amount is, it should rise or fall in proportion to the power of government. Reducing the power of government ought to take some money out of politics, but of course that's quixotic.

Rather than the cost of campaigns, I'm worried about (1) the domination of elected officials by career bureaucrats, (2) the capture of government institutions by the interests that are (supposedly) being regulated, and (3) the lack of measurements of the effectiveness of government spending. (James Wilson's "Bureaucracy" is a depressing read.) I can't imagine any solution other than the pipe-dream of starving the beast.

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